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Death Eaters: Who, What, and When

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by BTT, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    I figured it might be interesting to have a discussion about the Death Eaters on individual levels, more specifically about who they are, what they bring to the table, and similar questions. We have a few canon Death Eaters, but I think it'd be interesting to share both common ("fanon") takes on specific Death Eaters and your own expansions on the Death Eaters.

    A canon list of all mentioned Death Eaters:
    • the Carrows
    • Barty Crouch Jr.
    • Antonin Dolohov
    • Augustus Rookwood
    • Avery
    • Bellatrix Lestrange
    • Rodolphus Lestrange
    • Rabastan Lestrange
    • Corban Yaxley
    • Lucius Malfoy
    • Draco Malfoy
    • Crabbe Sr.
    • Goyle Sr.
    • Evan Rosier
    • Fenrir Greyback
    • Gibbon
    • Igor Karkaroff
    • Jugson
    • Mulciber
    • Nott
    • Regulus Black
    • Selwyn
    • Severus Snape
    • Thorfinn Rowle
    • Travers
    • Walden Macnair
    • Wilkes
    • Peter Pettigrew
    To start us off, I think it's interesting that fanfics have pushed forward several of these as belonging to an Inner Circle (Malfoy, Rookwood, Lestrange, and to a lesser degree Dolohov) and several as being just thugs (Macnair, Yaxley, Mulciber, Gibbon). What's your take on the hierarchy, and which Death Eaters do you think are more or less prominent in fanfiction? Which Death Eater(s) would you feature in your own writing?
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
  2. Andrela

    Andrela Plot Bunny DLP Supporter

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    Add Barty Crouch Jr. to the list. He's pretty significant I'd say.
     
  3. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    The idea of an "inner circle" has never really worked in my head, what would make more sense is if each of the named Death Eaters in canon is basically a cell leader. They organise their own little group of Death Eaters, distinct and separate from all the others. Apart from anything else, its the best way to avoid the entire network being rolled up by Aurors after they identify a single Death Eater.

    It would also explain why Karkaroff wasn't able to offer up evidence on every Death Eater that served Voldemort, he only knew folk from his cell and maybe a couple of other cells that they'd teamed up with for larger operations.
     
  4. darklordmike

    darklordmike Death Eater

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    This makes a lot of sense to me. It would also allow you to expand the number of marked but nameless Death Eaters in a story. If each of the named Death Eaters is a cell leader with 4-5 people under him, you get an organization with 150 terrorists instead of 30.

    It's hard to imagine 30 Death Eaters bringing a society of 15,000 armed magic-users to the brink of collapse, let alone easily taking over. No matter how powerful Voldemort is, they would just be spread too thin. It only works if half the population agrees with the Death Eater ideology, but not necessarily their methods, and so don't oppose them. (Unless the imperius is so strong that it could enthrall hundreds of important opponents, which is kind of a world breaker).

    EDIT: for particular Death Eaters, I always think of Rookwood as the quiet, clever genius, Dolohov as the most competent duelist, and MacNair as the kind of sadist who tortures muggle children for fun. Not really sure why.
     
  5. aAlouda

    aAlouda Seventh Year

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    I mean Karkaroff literally says that Voldemort made sure that none of his followers knew the name of all the others.

    Overall there does't seem to be something like an inner circle amongst the Death Eaters, instead the Death Eaters themsevles are the inner circle amongst all his followers.

    They are Voldemort's personal servants and directly report to him, only they are allowed to wear the robes and only they may bear his mark that allows them to summon him or be summoned. There most likely isn't a official hierarchy amongst the Death Eaters, instead it seems to be about who Voldemort favours the most at any particular time. Like Vincent Crabbe himself not even being a official Death Eater and mearly an opportunist, knew that there isn't really anything to be gained by obeying Draco after the Malfoys fell out of favour. There are edgecases like Greyback who only seems to be considered a Death Eater so they can make use of his reputation, but isn't marked or respected or Pettigrew who is known to only support them out of fear and not geniuine belief in their ideals or their lord.

    Voldemort himself seems to actually have some twisted form of respect towards them, like his geniune attempt to honour Snape's request about sparing Lily's life, even Dumbledore assumed Voldemort would honour such a request. I personally wouldn't be suprised if Voldemort is quite generous when rewarding them as well.

    They aren't his only supporters of course. Obviously the househoulds of a Death Eater are expected to serve him as well, there are also the countless dark creatures that serve him, as do the ones directly controlled by his Death Eaters through the imperius or bribes. And of course there are just people who serve Voldemort through his servants out of greed like the Snatchers or Crabbe and Goyle(the sons). These make up the vast majority of Voldemort followers. Though the Death Eaters seem to be above all of them.

    One thing I think Fanfiction doesen't really seem to catch, is how devoted most Death Eaters actually seem towards Voldemort and how desperate they are to earn his favour, the only one who doesn't seem to be Snape(becauce of Lily), but even he didn't hesitate when hearing about the Prophecy to tell Voldemort and Regulus(because of Kreacher and the Horcrux). There are the Malfoys as well, but even they tried desperately to earn Voldemort's approval and only stopped after they lost all his respect after Lucius failing in the ministry.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
  6. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    It would also go some way to explaining how Voldemort had something that could be described as an army at the Battle of Hogwarts. If each of his 30 or so Death Eaters has 10-20 loyal foot soldiers (whether they're marked or not, I don't think really matters) who they can call on then he'd have somewhere between 300 and 600 people under him at Hogwarts...much more reasonable to describe that as an army!
     
  7. Silirt

    Silirt Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    In my series there are a small amount of Death Eaters in the Inner Circle, and these are actually the men Voldemort trusts the least, because they're old money blood purists and they don't see him as a god in the same way that some of his other followers do. It's a keep your enemies closer kind of strategy. In addition to the old money/new money divide, as well as the ideological divide Death Eaters also have a generation gap because you have to remember this organization has existed for like fifty years and in many cases some of them probably died or retired and had to be replaced by their children, so you have some of a higher rank than others, formally or otherwise. Probably the lowest rank would be former unorganized criminals like Macnair who are sent to do specific tasks and are not invited to the strategy meetings because they don't want to go and there is no point.
    In addition, each of the landed Death Eaters has a relatively large amount of rural wizards at his command, some of whom were trained in the old way, which is to say they were sent to the Manor or the Castle as children to be trained and taught partially by the master, partially by the elves, so it's not a complete education like you would have at Hogwarts, but it's enough to where you can reasonably intimidate the non-Dumbledores of the world.
     
  8. Rakkety Tam

    Rakkety Tam High Inquisitor

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    Fear plays a large part in their ability to control. When Hagrid is explaining why Harry is famous he makes it clear that in those days you didn't trust strange witches and wizards. You didn't know who was a Death Eater and who wasn't or who could have been under the imperius. I don't think you need half the population to agree. You just need to keep assassinating and torturing the people who speak out and try to stand against you until the rest of the population is too afraid to speak out because they don't know who is listening.
     
  9. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    Its not that half the population need to agree, its that a majority of the population need to not object. As the saying goes, all that is needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing. As long as the only people actively fighting against Voldemort's forces are the Ministry and the OotP its perfectly conceivable that a force of 30 or 40 may actually be enough to hurt society the way that seemed to have happened during the first war. Especially if those 30 or 40 do make use of the Imperius to turn a strategic selection of 30 or 40 more people.

    And on top of that you'll have a small but pernicious element of society who are happy to make use of the climate of fear. They might not be Death Eaters but I'd be willing to be that non Death Eater related violent crime likely soared during the war.
     
  10. raobuntu

    raobuntu Fifth Year

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    Just here to chime in that Greyback doesn't have the mark. That's why he can't call Voldemort when they captured Harry & Co. at Malfoy Manor. A max of 30 Death Eaters compromising the "inner circle" of Voldemort's larger army of wizards and creatures sounds about right numbers wise. As far as an "inner circle" inside of the Death Eaters, the one that makes somewhat sense is the group that went to school with Tom Riddle and followed Voldemort from the beginning.
     
  11. LucyInTheSkye

    LucyInTheSkye Second Year

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    I've not written a lot about Death Eaters but I thought I'd chime in with what I've got saved from canon and extended pottermore stuff.

    The first Death Eaters included Lestrange sr and Avery sr who went to school with Voldemort (Slughorn's memory in HBP). General reasons for joining: "Some were afraid, some just wanted a bit of his power" Hagrid in PS, Sirius in OotP "He tricks, jinxes and blackmails them. He's well-practised at operating in secret." and Dumbledore in HBP "They were a motley collection; a mixture of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking some shared glory, and the thuggish gravitating toward a leader who could show them more refined forms of cruelty."

    I think Bellatrix, Lucius Malfoy and later Snape all seem to be more trusted than the rest, given that the first two were given horcruxes to safeguard and the unusual level of trust Voldemort shows for Snape.

    I agree that fear and in particular the fear of retribution if you spoke against Voldemort played a huge part in how they took control so completely. Hagrid mentions it when we're first introduced to why Voldemort was bad in PS ("Didn't know who ter trust, didn't dare get friendly with strange wizards or witches... Terrible things happened. He was takin' over. 'Course, some stood up to him - an' he killed 'em."), and Sirius uses it to explain in the cave in GoF when asked about what the first war was like ("You don't know who his supporters are, you don't know who's working for him and who isn't; you know he can control people so that they do terrible things without being able to stop themselves. You're scared for yourself, and your family, and your friends. Every week, news comes of more deaths, more disappearances, more torturing... the Ministry of Magic's in disarray, they don't know what to do, they're trying to keep everything hidden from the Muggles, but meanwhile, Muggles are dying too. Terror everywhere... panic... confusion... that's how it used to be.") And this on top of the fact that the Dark Mark tattoo isn't well known if we (again) are to believe Sirius. So there would not have been an easy way to determine if someone was working for Voldemort if they were caught. Innocent people might get sent to Azkaban for having a false planted memory or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think this explains it very well; people were scared of in any way being associated with Death Eaters or to be known to be against them because that might lead to family members getting hurt, eg Luna in DH or the Montgomery brother killed by a werewolf in HBP.

    Extra Pottermore info on the Malfoys (Abraxas bit possibly related to DE activity)
    "Abraxas Malfoy, who was widely believed to be part of the shady plot that saw the first Muggle-born Minister (Nobby Leach) leave his post prematurely in 1968 (nothing was ever proven against Malfoy). Abraxas’s son, Lucius, achieved notoriety as one of Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters, though he successfully evaded prison after both of Lord Voldemort’s attempted coups. On the first occasion, he claimed to have been acting under the Imperius Curse (though many claimed he called in favours from high-placed Ministry officials); on the second occasion, he provided evidence against fellow Death Eaters and helped ensure the capture of many of Lord Voldemort’s followers who had fled into hiding."

    Extra 2004 vaguely relevant info on Nott:
    "I liked this scene so much I tried to use it twice; unfortunately, it didn't work in either place so I finally laid it to rest in one of the cardboard boxes where I keep all my old drafts, notes, electricity bills and chewing gum wrappers.


    As in the case of Dean Thomas, I know much more about Theodore Nott than has ever appeared in the books. Raised by a very elderly widower and Death Eater father, Theodore is a clever loner who does not feel the need to join gangs, including Malfoy's.


    However, in this scene Theodore's father (the same Nott who was badly injured in the closing chapters of 'Order of the Phoenix') goes to visit Lucius Malfoy to discuss Voldemort-related business and we see Draco and Theodore alone in the garden having a talk of their own. I really liked the scene, firstly because it showed the Malfoys' home, and the difference between the place where Draco has grown up and number four, Privet Drive; then because we rarely see Draco talking to anybody he considers a real equal, and he is forced to see Theodore as such, because Theodore is just as pure-blooded as he is, and somewhat cleverer. Together these two Death Eaters' sons discuss Dumbledore's regime at Hogwarts and Harry Potter, with all sorts of stories that the Death Eaters tell about how this baby boy survived the Dark Lord's attack.
    "
     
  12. HeirGaunt

    HeirGaunt Squib

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    On a similar note, I always imagine Daphne Greengrass's famouse "hur dur we are grey and neutral" to Harry when Harry is in need of a wife in a haphne fic to be said while the elves are hiding the DE regalia and masks.
     
  13. Erzherzog_Karl

    Erzherzog_Karl Squib

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    I would differentiate between different kinds of death eaters. First there are the fanatics, like Bellatrix and Crouch Junior. Extreme personal loyalty to Voldemort for some reason. Be it love, fascination or desire to stand with someone of immense power. It is known that power itself can be heavily attractive to some characters. He doesn't offer them something tangible.

    Then I would have the Ideologists. These are the folk following the doctrine of pureblood power. Their families have a long line of following such a line of thought and may it be parents or some other influence it is something they grew up with. They see Voldemort as just another rallying banner for the purebloods to gather behind. Their parents had XYZ, they have Voldemort.

    Next is the ones with pure self-interest. By themselves they are powerful characters and could easily edge out an existence that would leave its mark behind, but they joined Voldemort because he offered them something. Be it Snape, who wanted to belong to something. Malfoy wanting to be close to the throne or Rookwood wanting more knowledge or power.

    Opportunists, they either fear Voldemort or promise themselves advancement in power/career from him. By themselves they don't represent a significant personage, but they swell the ranks of Voldemort's followers and would likely make out a big part of the group.

    Associates is the last category and would include persons like Fenrir Greyback. These are just tools to be used by Voldemort, but hope for something out of him. Be it more political power or believing promises he made. Essentially vassals with a skewed feudal contract in Voldemort's favor.

    From this assessment, I would then go forward and think about what they would do or be without Voldemort in play. I think the most famous ones would still be Lucius and Bellatrix.

    If Lucius is denied the easy way into the political sphere I could see him becoming something like a Magical Mafia Don. I can easily see him acting out the scene in godfather with the doctor wanting justice from the Don for his little girl. From his connections through the Slug Club, I could see him easily gathering former followers of Voldemort and other victims of the Imperius under his banner and go from there. Cut out from political power he would emphasize the ability of wizards to take care of their own problems. Maybe prop up another political candidate or go at it himself, after some time.
    For him joining Voldemort was likely a mix of following in his fathers footsteps propping up pureblood agenda and finding an easy way into political power. For me, he was always interested in that. Wielding power and authority over others. Voldemort represented an easy short-cut without that he would go at it himself just slower.

    Bellatrix is a fanatic and believes the pureblood crap. Considering her upbringing that is no surprise, just I think she always had a violent and sadistic streak. Voldemort just cultivated it and gave her the opportunity to cut loose. If she remained outside of Azkaban, she would be the perfect tool to bring outside forces into play for the plot. First she would never denounce her allegiance, which would make her either a fugitive or need for her to be never suspected.
    Now, if she is outside her prime goal is getting Voldemort back. Depending on how much she knows about Horcrux and her first actions after his fall, she would likely look for a way to find him. So you would have a Bellatrix on the run looking for a way to get Voldemort back. She could do everything. Peter found Voldemort through getting information from other animals about a place they don't visit. Bellatrix does not have this information. Therefore, she would need excactly that information. How she goes about that is dependent on what someone wants. From an outbreak of Azkaban to infiltrating Hogwarts or getting to Grindlewald. Everything would be possible.
     
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